Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso has had an impressive 2019-2020 season, emerging as a key player for the top-seeded team in the Western Conference. It’s been a long road for Caruso, who has played on a two-way contract for the past few seasons.
He was called up from the South Bay Lakers in the latter half of the 2018-2019 season and played so well that the Lakers gave him a full, two-year contract, which was his first non-two way deal in the NBA.
Caruso has been particularly impressive on the defensive end of the floor this season, where he has rated as one of the top defensive guards in the NBA and holds the best Defensive Rating on the Lakers among rotation players.
It also doesn’t hurt that Caruso has been impressive when paired with LeBron James. They are currently the best duo on the roster in terms of net rating, scoring even higher marks than James and Anthony Davis.
While that doesn’t mean that Caruso is a star-level player, it does show that he has been an effective piece for L.A. this season and has clicked with James. During an Instagram Live session with teammate Jared Dudley, Caruso was asked about his success when paired with James.
Caruso explained both he and James have a deep understanding of the game, which helps them connect on the same level. Additionally, Caruso shared that he feels like he plays best when he’s on the floor with players better than him, and that playing with James allows him to keep his own game very simple.
The bottom line for the Lakers is that, in Caruso, they’ve developed a player through their G-League team that is now making big plays to help them win. In a league where the salary cap limits talent acquisitions, finding a rotation piece like Caruso was a huge win.